The Hand at Llanarmon is an historic pub with a proud reputation for serving good food, set in the heart of some glorious Welsh countryside. Having held two AA rosettes since 2017, and a Michelin guide listing for even longer than that, I was looking forward to a quality meal as I made the trip for lunch with my wife and two young children on a rainy April Monday, to celebrate my birthday.
We'd been on holiday in Wales for a few days and whilst planning our journey home, I used this very website (it really is very handy you know) to find a decent restaurant, open on a Monday, which wasn't too much of a massive detour. Well, I say not massive, we'd been staying on the other side of the country in Llanberis so it was a fair old trek, but when we arrived there was plenty of space in the on-site car park.
The welcome on arrival was perfectly warm and it's clearly a family friendly venue as we'd hoped; we were given the option of the dining room or the bar (it's the same food available in both), and we opted for the dining room. The place very much functions as a normal pub as well as a restaurant, and it has that classic rural pub kind of feel. The dining room is a nice open space, perfectly comfortable and what you'd expect for a good quality food pub.
On offer at lunch is a comprehensive carte menu; mains are split into "Today's Specials" and "Hand Classics". I'd seen on the website that there is a children's menu also; this wasn't offered to us, but our waitress recited various options when we asked without any issue. Drinks wise, it's a proper pub, so there's all the usual drinks you'd expect in addition to a well thought out wine list. All the drinks were fine; I had a couple of my usual glasses of Hendrick's and tonic during the meal, with lemonade for my wife and apple juice for the kids.
Lunch began for me with the dill marinated salmon, served with a Bloody Mary panna cotta and whipped goats cheese. I was very impressed; the salmon was delicious, the panna cotta was a nice idea that worked well and the goats cheese was very tasty also; all in all it was an accomplished dish. My wife went for the pressed meat terrine with red wine chutney. This wasn't quite as interesting as my plate, but still a very competent dish which she enjoyed; both our starters were served with decent warm bread also.
For the kids, my young son just had a portion of chips and my daughter had the chicken and chips from the aforementioned children's options. Both options were perfectly tasty and delivered with our starters with no issue.
For mains, I opted for the marinated lamb rump. It was another quality dish; the lamb was well cooked, and the cauliflower cheese puree was faultless also; it was a very tasty dish. My wife went for the chicken and black pudding pie; it was an excellent pie, accompanied by a full-bodied leek and mustard sauce. I believe the pies are made elsewhere which is a bit of a shame, but overall she thoroughly enjoyed her dish. Both mains were served with vegetables and there's a choice of chips or mash (I had the mash which was very good also); there's little chance of leaving here hungry.
Despite being pretty stuffed by this point, we could resist dessert. I went for the coffee and Bailey's panna cotta with salted caramel ice cream; this arrived with a birthday candle and a "Happy Birthday" rendition from the staff which was much appreciated. My wife went for the dark chocolate and raspberry delice with vanilla ice cream. I've got to be honest, the desserts were OK but not as good as the starters and mains in my opinion, which was a bit of a shame. I always look forward to a bit of pastry pizzazz when visiting a restaurant of this level, but it didn't quite happen. That said, there were no complaints at all from the kids with their blackcurrant sorbet.
And so, a very enjoyable lunch came to an end. We were abandoned a bit at the end of the meal, but after a while I made my way to the bar to pay which wasn't the end of the world. Overall, this was an impressive lunch with good food (particularly the starters and mains) and good service too. I think to deliver that standard when there was only one other table in for lunch is pretty impressive. Just to say, the quietness is no reflection on the restaurant I'm sure, it was a rainy Monday and although it was half term for our kids, I'm pretty sure the local schools in the area were still open. I'd be very happy to visit again, and wouldn't hesitate to book a table if I was back in the area in future.
|Ratings||Michelin Guide||AA Guide||Good Food Guide|
|At time of review||-|